Isla Bonita launched a powerful late rally and won the $2 million Satsuki Sho (Jpn-I, Japanese Two Thousand Guineas) April 20 Nakayama Racecourse.
Racing right-handed for the first time, Isla Bonita colt broke sharply from post 2 as the second choice in the field of 18 3-year-olds and settled in midfield. Jockey Masayoshi Ebina brought the Fuji Kiseki colt wide into the stretch where he uncoiled a determined run to draw even with pacesetter Win Full Bloom, favorite To the World, and Asia Express 200 meters out.
With the four colts battling briefly through the uphill climb, Isla Bonita pulled clear to a comfortable 1 1/4-length victory.
"I tried to race him with his own pace until the first corner and took him to the outside to avoid the crowd," Ebina said. "He was responding well, and as I was able to race him towards the front, I urged him to go earlier. Although he seemed a bit distracted, he was able rally strongly with the other horses. He is able to run a smooth race and I think the Tokyo racecourse, where the Japanese Derby (group I Tokyo Yushun) is held, will suit him well."
Trained by Hironori Kurita for Shadai Race Horse Co., Isla Bonita posted a fourth consecutive victory and third straight in a group race while improving his record to 5-1-0 from six career starts. He came into the Japanese Guineas off a win in the Kyodo News Service Hai (Jpn-III) Feb. 23 in his 2014 bow at Tokyo. The dark bay colt closed his juvenile campaign with triumphs in the Tokyo Sports Hai Nisai Stakes (Jpn-III) Nov. 16 to and the Icho Stakes Oct. 19, also at Tokyo.
Recent group III winner To the World, the 7-2 favorite drawn wide in post 17 in the 18-horse field, showed speed from the gate and pursued Win Full Bloom and Asia Express from third then fourth with Bounce Shasse on the inside. Joining the two front-runners, with Isla Bonita ranging up, he asserted himself late to take second, snapping a four-race win streak. Win Full Bloom finished a half-length back in third.
Isla Bonita was timed in 1:59.06 for 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) on firm turf.
The Japanese Derby, run at 2,400 meters (about 1 1/2 miles) is set for June 1.
Shadai Corp. bred Isla Bonita out of the stakes-winning Cozzene mare Isla Cozzene, who was multiple graded stakes-placed in the United States. He is a half brother to stakes winners Jealous Girl and Montejo, both by Petionville.